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2017 cloud computing headlines show upside, hurdles for CIOs

CIOs are moving to the cloud in force. They’re also running into some thorny problems and want to learn how others are dealing with them. Just take a look at SearchCIO’s 2017 cloud computing headlines: One was about untangling the mess of cloud services organizations are now relying on; another was on pitching the economics of cloud to C-level executives. One focused on the common problems IT organizations face when deploying cloud, and another highlighted the undoing of cloud migration: moving from cloud back to solid ground.

These headlines called attention to red-hot trends such as serverless computing, an unexpected adjustment in market research outfit Gartner’s ranking of cloud providers and why cloud remains atop IT execs’ investment priorities.

They’re the 10 most-viewed cloud stories on the site this year, and they’re listed below. So without further ado — SearchCIO’s top 2017 cloud computing headlines.

10. ‘Cloud computing challenges today: Planning, process and people’

This video, filmed at Cloud Expo in New York in June, gets takes from three cloud experts on what trips people up in the cloud today. Ed Featherston, vice president and principal architect at Cloud Technology Partners, said companies don’t do enough planning. Sumit Sarkar, chief data evangelist at data integration vendor Progress Software, expressed concern that data is getting harder to access as companies plug more technologies into their cloud architectures. And Accenture managing consultant Greg Bledsoe said companies moving to the cloud need to work in wholly different ways: “Companies are still managing their cloud infrastructure as if it were physical infrastructure.”

9. ‘Function as a service, or serverless computing: Cloud’s next big act?’

Serverless computing takes away the laborious tasks of provisioning and managing servers, putting a new emphasis on code. “All you’re doing is writing your software code and then you’re packaging it and you’re letting someone else worry about whether the environment is ready for you,” said Kuldeep Chowhan, a principal engineer at Expedia, which is among a growing number of companies using the cloud service. Unlike other forms of cloud, users don’t have to spin up virtual machines. There are cautions, though. For example, it won’t work in every computing environment.

8. ‘Unclouding: How one company reversed the cloud migration process’

Go ahead: Move to the public cloud. If you don’t like it, come back. According to a study cited in this feature story on “unclouding,” or shifting from cloud infrastructure back to physical servers, 40% of organizations that have used the public cloud have moved some or all of their cloud deployments back in-house because of security, cost or manageability concerns. The story follows Nightingale Informatix Corp., a Canadian cloud medical records provider, which built and was testing a public cloud system. Then, a telecom acquired the company and decided to discontinue the public-cloud-based system. That’s when the unclouding began.

7. ‘Multi-cloud environments are everywhere, but managing them is just beginning’

Companies today have so many cloud services tied to so many departments — many without IT’s blessing — they don’t know what belongs to whom. Identifying and then connecting them so they work as though they were one computing system is the right idea, IT consultant Judith Hurwitz told SearchCIO, but “They really don’t know where to start.” In this feature, AstraZeneca’s CIO, Dave Smoley, and Matt Cadieux, CIO at Formula One racecar team Red Bull Racing, share their stories about the multi-cloud fast lane.

6. ‘Selling the value of cloud computing to the C-suite’

When corporate IT goes cloud, its economics will invariably and drastically change, Mark Tonsetic, formerly of consulting outfit CEB, wrote in this tip. IT leaders need to hash that out with CFOs and other C-level executives. Tonsetic listed five “imperatives for getting this conversation right,” including the long-term savings executives expect from a cloud move and what will be done with those savings; tradeoffs the organization may have to make between short-term migration costs and long-term efficiencies; and how public cloud use will affect how IT serves the business.

5. ‘IT Priorities 2017: Tech leaders remain invested in cloud options’

Each year, TechTarget conducts its IT Priorities survey to determine what is topmost in the minds of senior IT leaders. In 2017, it was cloud computing. In this report, SearchCIO relays results of the survey of 971 IT professionals on the technology endeavors their companies would undertake this year. Sixty-four percent said they would increase their budgets for cloud services. The reason, said Quality Consulting’s vice president of operations, Jim Hope, who SearchCIO interviewed for this story, is economics. “They are looking for cheap,” he said.

4. ‘AWS cloud platform will share cloud computing heights, CEO Jassy says’

Amazon Web Services, Amazon’s cloud business, may be the world’s top cloud platform provider, but it won’t be the only one, chief executive Andy Jassy said. In this news story, written at Gartner’s annual Symposium/ITxpo, Jassy told the gathered audience of IT leaders that companies will continue to invest in multiple cloud providers, choosing one main vendor for most of their data and applications and putting a small amount in other provider’s clouds. What they won’t do is divide their workloads evenly among vendors, he said. CIOs often start out planning to, but it’s hugely difficult, so “very few end up going that route.”

3. ‘OpenStack in the enterprise: Are you up for the challenge?’

OpenStack is a hit at big corporations. AT&T, Disney, Volkswagen, Walmart and PayPal all use the open source cloud system. And it’s no wonder. PayPal’s Jigar Desai, vice president of cloud and platforms, said OpenStack has given the company the public-cloud-like dexterity it needed to move fast and at scale. “OpenStack has been a fantastic journey for us,” Desai told SearchCIO in this feature story. But the technology requires a lot of upfront investment and skills to make it work, so smaller companies may not have the wherewithal. “Is it what you want?” asked Forrester Research analyst Lauren Nelson. “Is it the right choice for you?

2. ‘Amazon cloud outage: A CIO survivor’s guide’

In SearchCIO’s Searchlight news analysis column, industry observers offered advice for keeping the lights on even when cloud infrastructure has failed, as AWS did in February, taking down wide swaths of the internet. First, IT leaders need to keep calm, analysts said, and then evaluate their architecture and incident response. They should determine their tolerance for risk — and then decide whether to build applications that could withstand events such as outages. That’s a hard, costly thing to do. “Every additional nine of availability, so to speak, gets exponentially more expensive,” said Gartner analyst Lydia Leong.

1. ‘AWS, Azure tie for top spot in 2017 Gartner ranking’

Gartner releases rankings for major cloud providers every year, assessing them on the technical capabilities of their offerings, as well as things like management and support. AWS grabbing the top spot has been practically a given, with the real activity among the catchers-up. This year, there were two No. 1s: AWS and Microsoft Azure, declared analyst Elias Khnaser at Symposium/ITxpo. With companies now relying on AWS along with Azure and next on the list, Google, or other providers — making multi-cloud a reality for most CIOs — “We’re moving beyond which provider is best,” he said.

For Sale – AMD FX-6300 & Asus 970 Pro Gaming Aura

I’ve decided to sell my FX-6300 & 970 Pro cpu & motherboard prior to fitting it. They’re both brand new still packaged up.

Only selling as moved house and had a baby, funds are tight and decided to get a second hand I5 from Humanitarian just to put me on for now.

It’s the same kit found here, just minus the RAM.

Artillery AMD FX-6300 CPU 8GB RAM Silver Motherboard & Processor Bundle | maplin

Offers welcome, delivery is included in the price however I can also be available for collection.

PayPal gift (or +fees), bank transfer or cash on collection from Doncaster.

Price and currency: 120
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PayPal or Bank Transfer
Location: Doncaster
Advertised elsewhere?: Advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I have no preference

______________________________________________________
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Wanted – Gaming Mouse (Logitech Preferred)

I wouldn’t mind a G500 (even though they’re a good few years old), or a newer mouse – I’ll consider any mouse to be fair.

Location: North Lincolnshire

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By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
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DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Windows file server migration tool eases data transfer dread

websites. They’re just objects stored on a file system. So, why is it rarely simple to transfer a bunch of them?

A Windows file server migration should be straightforward. Windows admins have the xcopy disk operating system command, robocopy and the Copy-Item PowerShell cmdlet at their disposal, with a source, destination and even a Recurse parameter to find every item in all subfolders. But unforeseen issues always seem to foul up large file migrations.

IT professionals typically overlook two topics before they perform a large Windows file server migration: Microsoft’s New Technology File System (NTFS)/share permissions and open file handles. A typical scenario illustrates these concepts.

Say you’ve got a 500 GB file server with each employee’s home folder stored on the \FILESRVUsers file share. The IT department plans to map the folder as a network drive, via Group Policy Objects, on every user’s desktop. But when it’s time to move those home folders, things go wrong. It could be that the disk that stores the home folders is direct-attached. In that case, the admins must migrate it to a storage area network or transfer the data to a different logical unit number. All of that important data must move.

In this scenario, data isn’t just cold storage — this data changes every day. It also has a specific permission structure setup: Employees have full rights to their folders, managers have access to their employees’ folders and other miscellaneous NTFS permissions are scattered about. The organization depends on 24/7 availability for this data.

Commercial tools are available to aid in a large Windows server file migration, including Quest’s Secure Copy and Swimage. Microsoft offers the free File Server Migration Toolkit (FSMT), which recreates shares. FSMT is a great alternative to fiddling the switches in robocopy.

Use FSMT for file transfers

FSMT is a Windows feature, so the user installs it via PowerShell on the destination server:

Install-WindowsFeature Migration –ComputerName DESTINATIONSRV

Once FSMT installs, stay on the destination server, and use the SmigDeploy utility to create the deployment shares. The SmigDeploy tool makes the share on the destination server and performs the required setup on the source server. The syntax below assumes that the source server runs Windows Server 2012 and has an AMD64 architecture, while the share to migrate the profiles to is at E:Users.

Microsoft offers the free File Server Migration Toolkit, which recreates shares.

smigdeploy.exe /package /architecture amd64 /os WS12 /path E:Users

Use a similar command if the source server runs an earlier version of Windows Server.

Once this script generates the E:Users folder, create a share for it:

New-SmbShare -Path D:Users -Name Users

Next, copy the deployment folder from the destination server to the source server:

Copy-Item -Path \DESTINATIONSRVUsers -Destination \SOURCESRVc$ -Recurse

Register FSMT on the source server to continue. From the source server, change to the C:UsersSMT_ws12_amd64 folder, and issue the command SmigDeploy.exe to make FSMT ready for use.

To perform the Windows file server migration, go to the destination server, and import the PowerShell snap-in that the feature installed:

Add-Pssnapin microsoft.windows.servermanager.migration

Once the snap-in loads, type Receive-SmigServerData. This sets up the destination server to receive data from the source server once it’s initiated. Go to the source server, and send all of the data to the destination:

Send-SmigServerData -ComputerName DESTINATIONSRV -SourcePath D:Users -DestinationPath C:Users -include all -Recurse

Enter the administrator password if prompted, then watch as the files and folders flow over to the destination server. This FSMT process copies the data and keeps permissions in place during the Windows file server migration.

Local area network design gets boost from SDN

Imagine organizing a conference and not being sure who the attendees are or what they’re interested in. It could be a disorganized mess — or it could be organized using policies to identify attendees’ interests.

Using pure software-defined networking in local area network design could function along similar lines.

Full SDN in local area network design could be forever on the horizon, but not all aspects of it. Some enterprises are looking at “SDN-lite” elements that enable centralized automation of policies that govern users. For example, the ability to automate LAN policies can cut down on the massive amount of manual labor required to provide users and devices with the ever-changing access they need to different parts of the network.

In this month’s cover story, we look at the elements of SDN that have begun to filter into local area network design.

Also in this issue, network pros are seeing fast-paced evolution in their fields. What does that mean for their skill sets? At one university, it meant retraining the IT staff. See how Oral Roberts University is transitioning to cloud unified communications, as the IT team is taking on greater data analytics and computing roles.

Finally, in our Subnet Q&A, find out how first responders in the Santa Clara County Fire Department are using new technologies to stay more connected while battling fires and responding to medical emergencies. 

For Sale – AMD FX-6300 Black Edition & Asus 970 Pro Gaming Aura

I’ve decided to sell my FX-6300 & 970 Pro cpu & motherboard prior to fitting it. They’re both brand new still packaged up.

Only selling as moved house and had a baby, funds are tight and decided to get a second hand I5 from Humanitarian just to put me on for now.

It’s the same kit found here, just minus the RAM.

Artillery AMD FX-6300 CPU 8GB RAM Silver Motherboard & Processor Bundle | maplin

Offers welcome, delivery is included in the price however I can also be available for collection.

PayPal gift (or +fees), bank transfer or cash on collection from Doncaster.

Price and currency: 150
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PayPal, Bank Transfer, Cash on Collection
Location: Doncaster
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – AMD FX-6300 Black Edition & Asus 970 Pro Gaming Aura

I’ve decided to sell my FX-6300 & 970 Pro cpu & motherboard prior to fitting it. They’re both brand new still packaged up.

Only selling as moved house and had a baby, funds are tight and decided to get a second hand I5 from Humanitarian just to put me on for now.

It’s the same kit found here, just minus the RAM.

Artillery AMD FX-6300 CPU 8GB RAM Silver Motherboard & Processor Bundle | maplin

Offers welcome, delivery is included in the price however I can also be available for collection.

PayPal gift (or +fees), bank transfer or cash on collection from Doncaster.

Price and currency: 150
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PayPal, Bank Transfer, Cash on Collection
Location: Doncaster
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – AMD FX-6300 Black Edition & Asus 970 Pro Gaming Aura

I’ve decided to sell my FX-6300 & 970 Pro cpu & motherboard prior to fitting it. They’re both brand new still packaged up.

Only selling as moved house and had a baby, funds are tight and decided to get a second hand I5 from Humanitarian just to put me on for now.

It’s the same kit found here, just minus the RAM.

Artillery AMD FX-6300 CPU 8GB RAM Silver Motherboard & Processor Bundle | maplin

Offers welcome, delivery is included in the price however I can also be available for collection.

PayPal gift (or +fees), bank transfer or cash on collection from Doncaster.

Price and currency: 150
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PayPal, Bank Transfer, Cash on Collection
Location: Doncaster
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

For Sale – AMD FX-6300 Black Edition & Asus 970 Pro Gaming Aura

I’ve decided to sell my FX-6300 & 970 Pro cpu & motherboard prior to fitting it. They’re both brand new still packaged up.

Only selling as moved house and had a baby, funds are tight and decided to get a second hand I5 from Humanitarian just to put me on for now.

It’s the same kit found here, just minus the RAM.

Artillery AMD FX-6300 CPU 8GB RAM Silver Motherboard & Processor Bundle | maplin

Offers welcome, delivery is included in the price however I can also be available for collection.

PayPal gift (or +fees), bank transfer or cash on collection from Doncaster.

Price and currency: 150
Delivery: Delivery cost is included within my country
Payment method: PayPal, Bank Transfer, Cash on Collection
Location: Doncaster
Advertised elsewhere?: Not advertised elsewhere
Prefer goods collected?: I prefer the goods to be collected

______________________________________________________
This message is automatically inserted in all classifieds forum threads.
By replying to this thread you agree to abide by the trading rules detailed here.
Please be advised, all buyers and sellers should satisfy themselves that the other party is genuine by providing the following via private conversation to each other after negotiations are complete and prior to dispatching goods and making payment:

  • Landline telephone number. Make a call to check out the area code and number are correct, too
  • Name and address including postcode
  • Valid e-mail address

DO NOT proceed with a deal until you are completely satisfied with all details being correct. It’s in your best interest to check out these details yourself.

Hacking voting machines takes center stage at DEFCON

LAS VEGAS — “Anyone who says they’re un-hackable is either a fool or a liar.”

Jake Braun, CEO of Cambridge Global Advisors and one of the main organizers of the DEFCON Voting Village, said the U.S. election industry has an attitude similar to what had been seen with the air and space industry and financial sectors. Companies in those sectors, Braun said, would often say they were un-hackable their machines didn’t touch the internet and their databases were air-gapped —  until they were attacked by nation-states with unlimited resources and organized cybercrime syndicates and they realized they were “sitting ducks.”

The fear of threat actors hacking voting machines and tampering with election results has been stoked in the wake of the 2016 U.S. presidential election and growing questions about Russia interference. That false sense of security that governments may have had about election infrastructure received yet another blow at this year’s DEFCON, where attendees gathered in the conference’s Voting Village to successfully penetrate different types of e-voting machines.

“This idea that’s being perpetuated in the elections industry, whether it be government or vendors, that these are un-hackable machines because they don’t touch the internet or voter registration databases that are un-hackable because they’re air-gapped is just ridiculous. If you said something like that here, you’d be laughed at,” Braun told SearchSecurity in an interview at DEFCON. “The sin isn’t the fact that some secretary of state or clerk gets hacked or some vendor’s machine gets hacked. The sin is not asking for help and saying that you’re un-hackable, both of which things are ridiculous.”

DEFCON hacking voting machines

Braun said that everyone at DEFCON assumed hacking the voting machines would be successful from the start. Ultimately, Braun said the participants were able to get into two systems an hour and a half after starting, and it has since been reported that all of the machines at DEFCON were hacked in less than two and a half days “without inside or domain-specific knowledge.”

“The guys in here literally have the database of a poll book — they’ve already accessed it — and they’re able to go in and say people have already voted, so that if you showed up to your precinct it would say you already voted so you couldn’t vote,” Braun said. “They were able to uncheck people as voting, which would enable people to vote multiple times. They were one of the ones who got in within the first hour and forty minutes.”

Hackers were also able to pull off some more unconventional tricks, such as analyzing unintentional radio signals created by the cables connecting a voting machine to a printer, as well as installing Windows Media Player on the AVSWinVote system in order to “Rick-roll” DEFCON attendees by playing Rick Astley’s 1980s pop song “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

If we don’t improve the security of our voting systems, we’re basically handing the keys to the backdoor of our democracy over to the Russians and whoever else wants to mess with us.
Jake BraunCEO, Cambridge Global Advisors

Even pulling together the Voting Village proved an impressive feat as Braun said he called Jeff Moss, founder of DEFCON, in February or March 2017 to suggest hacking voting machines. Braun got the go-ahead in April to create the Voting Village where attendees from around the world would be given a chance at hacking voting machines.

“So, all of this came together in about two and a half months. We’ve got about two dozen machines, a couple poll books, and we got an elections clerk to give us the specs of their network and we built it on a virtual cyber range in there,” Braun said. “So, we’ve got guys and gals who are able to sit there and attack and defend a clerk’s network, including voter registration databases and all that stuff.”

All of the machines used in this year’s DEFCON Voting Village were purchased second-hand, but Braun is optimistic the companies that make official voting equipment will donate systems in future years. Braun said the Voting Village has already been slated as a permanent fixture at DEFCON.

Responding to election hacking

Candice Hoke, law professor and co-director of the Center for Cybersecurity and Privacy Protection, said in a DEFCON talk the laws surrounding investigations of potential election hacking were troublesome.

“In some states, you need evidence of election hacking in order to begin an investigation … This is an invitation to hackers,” Hoke said. “We all know in the security world that you can’t run a secure system if no one is looking.”

Barbara Simons, former president of the Association for Computing Machinery and current board chair for Verified Voting, said the push towards paperless ballots has made it very difficult or impossible for election officials to perform recounts if it suspected there was hacking of voting machines.

“We need to get paper ballots everywhere, but we also need get people to look at them because those paper ballots, by-and-large, are being counted by computers in optical scans, and those computers are computers,” Simons said. “We need to get laws passed, or requirements, that after every election, before the votes are certified a manual random post-election ballot audit is conducted as a check against the computers and the scanners.”

Simons said there were currently 14 states that have electronic-only voting, meaning there is no way to perform a proper recount and many states have retrofitted electronic voting machines with paper copies printed on thermal rolls, which are typically seen in supermarket receipt printers.

“Those retrofits are really bad designs. Most people don’t look at them. They can be very hard to read because the font can be very small. It can be designed to print out everything a voter does with no summary page, making it difficult to see who someone voted for. And they’re hard to recount because it’s a continuous roll,” Simons said. “If you want to count something, the easiest way to do it — like you do with money or cards — is you sort it into piles and count each pile. But if it’s a continuous roll, you can’t do that.”

Improving election security

Awareness of election security issues has been on the rise, according to Braun. Outside of the voting machine hacks at DEFCON, the words of General Doug Lute, former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, who spoke at the conference, the various local election officials at DEFCON and former U.S. intelligence chief James Clapper, should help push awareness even more. 

Braun said a common argument from election officials is there is a need for physical access when hacking voting machines, but he noted that a motivated nation-state with enough intelligence operatives could gain that access relatively easily.

“The fact that they can drive around — they only have to go to a handful of counties around the country — the machines are kept in warehouses with padlocks, essentially,” Braun said.

Braun said there is a need to fundamentally rethink how people are trying to solve this problem. He said that for the last decade or so the focus has been on the approximately 3,000 county clerks and the 50 secretaries of state urging better security, upgrades and audits.

“But the thing is: A) you’re not going to get to all of those people and B) actually about 20 percent of them change every year because they’re elected or appointed, so you have high levels of turnover. So it’s literally an unsolvable problem if you approach it that way,” Braun said. “Instead what needs to happen is governors need to take ownership of this.”

Braun said state governors were perfectly placed to organize the county clerks and secretaries of state and implement better election security procedures as well as to petition the federal government for more funding and resources to put towards new systems, upgrades and risk limiting audits.

“I think the only way that the governors take ownership of this and work together with Homeland Security is if the national security elite in this country — leaders in the intelligence community, military, foreign policy — say what is true, which is that this is a direct existential threat to the United States from a foreign adversary,” Braun said. “And if we don’t improve the security of our voting systems, we’re basically handing the keys to the backdoor of our democracy over to the Russians and whoever else wants to mess with us.”

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